OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The Before & After

In once sense, there can always be the identifiable spectrum bifurcated into the “before” and “after”, and the conditions, the context and the significant differences characterized by each.  There is the time “before” the 1929 stock market crash, and then the “after”.  There is the “before” period in Nazi Germany, and the “after” timeframe subsequent to defeat.  There is “before” television and “after”; there is the time period before X-presidency and after, and before the advent of the computer, the laptop, the smart phone, etc. — and after.

How can we identify and bifurcate based upon relevant contexts?  For example, one can point to the legendary bank robbers — of “Bonnie and Clyde”, “Pretty Boy Floyd”, “Baby Face Nelson”, etc. — and it is much fun to watch movies romanticizing such characters.  But how would they fare today in the era of cellphones and electronic tracking devices, modern technologies of security apparatus, etc.?  Could a person “get away” these days using the same tactics and strategies, or would any of the famous bank robbers have been smart enough to change tactics and adapt to this world of technological intrusion? Are the old bank robbers of “before” the new cyberspace hackers of “after”?

Before the Great Dust Bowl and the Depression was a country that was mostly agrarian and independent of the Federal Government; after, we became a nation where the greater populace looked to a more centralized nation.  Good or bad, we tend to view contexts upon a spectrum of “before” and “after”, and the same is true of individual lives.  “How” we view it all depends upon which events we consider as significant enough to posit as the bifurcating dividing point that separates the “before” and the “after”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the “before” is quite simple: Before the onset of the medical condition.  It is the “after” that becomes problematic, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the next step in completing the process of the “after” so that you can go on to the next phase of your life and make the “after” the next “before” in a life that doesn’t remain stuck in the “before” of one’s medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Ignoring the details

What is a lawyer’s response to the allegation: “You are playing with words and using technicalities to win!”

Some might, of course, become defensive and deny such allegations, countering to the accuser that the substance of the law allows for such word-games and the laws themselves allow for such technicalities; or, as the more appropriate, honest and forthright answer might be (yes, yes, for those with such humor against lawyers, such a string of descriptive adjectives may appear to create an oxymoron), “Well, yes, law is the word-craftsman’s tool with which we play, and technicalities are those very details which allow us to prevail.”

It is, in the end, words which win out in any legal forum, and it is the delivery of those words that persuade, debunk, analyze and cross-examine the truth or falsity of claims made, defenses proffered and allegations refuted.

And this is no different in the forum of play known as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.  For, always remember that a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether prepared for a Federal or Postal worker under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a paper-presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and as such, is based upon words, words, words — and details contained within and amidst those words.

By ignoring the “details”, one does so with much peril; for, in the end, the old adage that declared the “devil to be in the details” was merely a recognition that details matter, and it is those very details which win or lose a case, and that is no different when presenting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The image we hold

What picture do we carry?  No, not in one’s pocket or wallet, but in the eye of one’s mind.  Is it one that has been frozen in time; an imprint from a bygone era, a specific day in one’s past where childhood memories once floated upon a cloud of dreams and wishes?  Or, is it of more recent vintage – wrapped in layers of cynicism and denied opportunities, huddled in a corner where bitterness, wrongs and outrages of blames and byproducts of what others have “done” have emasculated and left that image we hold with disdain and dank disgust?

Where we are in life, at what stage we find ourselves; often, how we act and engage the world depends upon the image we hold of ourselves.  It is, after all, the one person whom we have no idea about.

Oh, yes, we try and fool ourselves by claiming to know ourselves better than any other, and we do this because we are the only ones who have access to that “inner” soul that speaks soliloquys and bitter asides when we believe no one else is listening.  But that is merely a subjective understanding of a subject that lives in the world of pure subjectivity; it is not, after all, an “objective” perspective and assessment of who we are.  For that, we must turn a dispassionate eye in reverse-form upon the image we hold of ourselves.

In the end, are we anything more than the aggregate of a language we have learned, and the very usage of the language we have acquired, the sense-impressions we have encountered and the image we hold – is it any more or less than what others have of ourselves?

That is why, in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to have a greater sense of who we are when we write that “Statement of Disability” on SF 3112A.  For, SF 3112A requests certain and specific information about one’s self, the nexus between one’s medical condition and the impact upon one’s positional capabilities and essential elements of one’s job.

But the narrative we write should have a certain sense of objectivity about it, precisely because it is going to be some “other” person who will be reading it, assessing it and evaluating the sincerity and persuasive impact of the delineated discourse.

From that perspective, the image we hold of ourselves can be an impediment, precisely because it may not be an objective viewpoint, but one wrapped in the perspective of pain, turmoil, anger and despair, which is understandable, taking the medical condition into account.  Perhaps, an advocate who has a more “objective” perspective – like a lawyer who is well versed in Federal Disability Retirement law — might be of some assistance in the process.  Just a thought.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Structural Problem

It is what we never want to hear, and fear most:  that statement from an “expert” who informs us that it is a “structural problem“.  Not cosmetic; not superficial; not unessential; but that word, concept and image which goes to the very heart and foundation of the damage:  the center of the universe.  When the damage occurs there, and the rotting vein of progressive deterioration touches upon that central nervous system, then it becomes “structural”, and all of the rest may come falling down in a sudden dustheap of crumpled carcasses.

So long as it involves only the peripheral concerns, we keep telling ourselves that it doesn’t matter, that the foundation is still solid and they are mere extremities of lesser concern.  We do that with pain and other irritants of life.  And with medical conditions that don’t double us over or completely debilitate us.  So long as there remains a semblance of structural integrity left, one can go on and continue without regard to the symptoms which become telltale signs of impending doom.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who has arrived at the point of finality where one can no longer just venture forward, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes the best remaining option.

We wait because it is in the very nature and essence of procrastination that the inevitability of ignorance, neglect, disregard and sidestepping can delay the confrontation with that which we fear to know, refuse to acknowledge, and take comfort in detracting from the encounter with the truth of established verifiability.  As with science, the flat earth, and the view from a geocentric universe, no one wants to be told that there is a structural problem.

Too often, the Federal and Postal employee who finally comes to a point of needing to admit that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is and has become a necessity because he or she has worked until the last straw was placed on the back of the proverbial camel.

Medical conditions announce harbingers of events to come, by symptoms calling for attention and attentiveness.  While the news from the architect that the problem is a “structural” one may not be welcome, it was always an indicator that the inevitable was on the fast-track of necessity and predictability; we just turned our heads aside in hopes of another day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset: Beyond the Disequilibrium of Life

Finding a balanced life after a disabling injury or medical condition with OPM Disability Retirement benefits

One can describe, in positive terms, the negative aspects of a thing, as in, “X is y,” etc. Or, as in the case often represented by Maimonides’ Negative Theology, one can elucidate by negation of perceived phenomena, leaving the subtraction of present realities to the imagination of the void.

Some may contend that the latter methodology of descriptive narrative adds nothing to knowledge; for, it is a negation of that which we know, and as King Lear reminded Cordelia, “Nothing will come of nothing:  speak again.”  But there is something beyond the nothingness of negation, is there not?  To negate is to expose the loss of something, the extracting and revealing of that which once was, became detached, and left as a void to be filled.

Thus can life present a semblance of equilibrium, where balance of family, work, community and value of living provides a coherence of a teleology of sorts; and when such coordination of essence in the core of one’s being gets out of whack (the term being of a very technical nature, used in esoteric philosophical discourse, as in, “He whacked away at the pages of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit”), there is a foreboding sense of loss and dispiritedness (again, the negation of a positive attribute).

Medical conditions tend to exonerate the negative theology of life.  Often, it is a subtraction beyond the chronic pain and debilitating nature of the medical condition itself.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue is often how, and to what extent, a persuasive description of one’s medical condition can purport to effectively represent the chronic and severe nature of one’s medical condition.

Some would contend that such an endeavor is nigh impossible to do; for, as the negation of equilibrium is the disequilibrium of life, so the mere subtraction of what we do and could do, does not necessarily present an accurate picture of one’s life.  And that is what is required, is it not?  Words have meaning; descriptive negations presume a context of knowledge already existent.

For the Federal and Postal employee who must present a compelling Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the conundrum of attempting to adequately describe one’s medical condition, its impact upon one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, and the further pervasive effect upon one’s personal life, is a conundrum of epic proportions.

To engage in negative theology in the descriptive delineation on SF 3112A is to presume a context which is not yet there; and to describe the disequilibrium brought upon the Federal or Postal employee resulting from a medical condition, is to encounter the wall that separates between words, meanings, and the true experiences of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire